19 Jun 2012
New plans for Premier Inn St Albans
Premier Inn have submitted new plans to St Albans Council, for a hotel in St Peter's Street.
This follows the planning committee narrowly rejecting the company's previous plans last year (urged on by me) for being - essentially - too big and ugly.
At the time of writing the plans have not been checked by the Council, but when they have you'll be able to see them in full at the Council website (search for application 5/2012/1621 and 5/2012/1622), or by going to the Council in person.
I've had a meeting with the developer, and a good look at the plans. And they are a great improvement.
The new plans are a floor shorter than the old plans. As a result, no part of the hotel would be taller than existing buildings. They've done this by removing the gym and slightly reducing the number of bedrooms (from 125 to 123). There's also more room at the back of the hotel for lorries to deliver, without disrupting traffic in Drovers Way.
You might or might not like the design, but it's a lot better than the concrete block they wanted last time. They are keeping the existing attractive building (to the left on the picture above). On the corner with Adelaide Street there will be a wrap-around design of vertical cedar slats. The design of the back and side of the hotel are better too, much more broken up and therefore less of an eyesore.
The proposed hotel would be more environmentally friendly than the last proposal. The BREEAM rating is now just short of 'Excellent'. This is good for a building of this type, and better than most of the other new developments in St Albans.
The developer now has a deal with a bank to run one of the three retail units at the front. The bank would be committed to the site for the long term, and has said it will be creating dozens of jobs. That's on top of the jobs the hotel would create of course.
Those are the main changes. I'd welcome your comments. And don't forget you can comment officially through the Council website as above, or by emailing email@example.com and quoting the planning reference numbers above.